Emails from Home: Why Empowerment Changes Students

Just some reasons why my students make me so proud!

I've been out this week, here is a sampling of some of the emails in my inbox as I'm checking it in the Atlanta airport.  You can see, that I'm a coach and my students and I have a relationship.  They are professionals and they amaze me.  This is what happens when student projects become OWNED.

“I was out of your class Tuesday and Wednesday because I had to go to the doctor, and I was sick. I have recently been informed that there has been some plagiarism on the wiki. We have been researching most of the wikis and found plagiarism on some of them. I have decided to post a blog post on Digiteen to inform everyone that plagiarism is illegal. If you have any ideas on how to deal with the plagiarism, please email me back.”

This is about and plaigarism is something that does happen – we have to continually work on this as teachers, but many of the students get very angry and want to work with it!!!

“Hey Mrs. Vicki this is ********[name removed]. The class has received your email about Lively and we are discussing the different options that we can do to convince Google to keep Lively open. We have came to a decision and we would like to make a Jing and a video. We are asking the Pierson company if they would be kind enough to send us a copy of the film that they produced last week. We would be interested if you would give us your different opinions.”

 The Pearson organization filmed them last week and it won't be ready until next year, but look at how they are thinking!!!! 

I had others about converting file sizes and more on plagiarism, but this is what strikes me.  These students are internalizing this.  They are learning and they are becoming activists.  They are active in their world, not passive.  They are growing in their leadership.

Oh, and these are ninth graders!

And these stories are coming from around the world, when truly engaging, empowering projects are put in place – the students do this.  Their world and live and classtime becomes meaningful.  I believe the such projects are an essential part of a good education when so much wastebasket work is happening.  (Classwork that just goes into the wastebasket.)

Please – share your story, here or on your blog — this is NOT unique to my classroom but is the reason that those of us who teach with this model become totally addicted to it.  It is empowering for me as a teacher because I KNOW I make a difference.  Every teacher wants to leave a legacy and change the lives of their students and truly

I'm the luckiest woman alive because I feel that I have a great family, kids, and amazing students in an empowering school that lets me teach and doesn't expect me to be a babysitter or a mindless teacher of the bubble-in grid overkill that someone has decided to call a measure of good education.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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SStock03 November 22, 2008 - 4:39 pm

I am a young teacher just starting out in the educational field. Reading your entry gives me great motivation to empower my own students and also triggers my memory from my school years.

I can recall one of my sixth grade teachers that assigned a project that gave us the opportunity to make our own decisions. She was so proud of the initiatives that we took and the outcome was larger than she or we had imagined.

As educators, we need to direct our students in the right direction and then allow them to take off in their own way. There are so many learning opportunities in being proactive and reflective rather than reading from a textbook and bubbling in answers.

Massey's Memos November 26, 2008 - 1:31 am

I agree with you about the different options available for learning opportunities. When I consider my most distracting behavior problems I have to admit that they come from small attention spans and lack of interest in the activity. Although the technology available on my campus is limited and shared between many, many students, I feel it is worth it to fight for it in my classroom. How inspiring!!!!

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